I personally can't decide yet if I love the shooting brake version of the MINI or not but I think that at least, it helps the Mini being able for a broader chunk of the premium supermini segment.
Compared to the "regular" MINIs, the new Clubman is 24 cm longer (a little bit more than 9 inches), which allows to have 8 extra cm (like 3 inches) for rear passengers' legroom. This allows the car to be homologated as a 5-seater, compared to the 4-seater of the standard offerings.
The offered trims are only the Cooper versions (Cooper D, Cooper and Cooper S) and three engines are available. Besides the 1.6 gasoline, which was co-developed with Peugeot and found in the 207, the Mini Clubman arrives with a diesel offering good for 110 HP and with very good green figures 109 g/km C02. The Clubman, as the rest of the MINI offerings, arrive with improvements to optimize fuel economy and emission management, such Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and a Gearshift Point Indicator.
Prices are a bit high, so start saving now: MINI Cooper 14,235 GBP, MINI Cooper D 15,400 GBP and MINI Cooper S 17,210 GBP (multiply by 2 to get a rough approximation of the price in US dollars).
Full press release after the jump.
The new MINI Clubman
The new MINI Clubman will go on sale in the UK on Saturday 10 November 2007. Based on a concept first shown at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, the new car is a modern interpretation of its famous Mini predecessors taking into account all the demands and technologies of the 21st century.
Available from launch in three engine variants: Cooper D, Cooper and Cooper S, the new model offers flexible use of space, easier access through innovative door concepts, more space for rear passengers and high levels of safety and customisation options, all without compromising the MINI's revered driving dynamics.
The new car takes inspiration and styling cues from the Morris Mini Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman and the Mini Clubman Estate, which enjoyed widespread success in the 1960s. Combining enhanced functionality and versatility, the new MINI Clubman nevertheless stays true to the MINI design language with the retention of short body overhangs, wide track, a long wheelbase and the high shoulder line rising towards the rear.
The new MINI Clubman is 24cm longer than the Hatch, signifying 8cm more legroom for rear passengers and the opportunity for MINI to enter the market with five seats. Boot capacity has increased to 260 litres with the seats in place and up to 930 litres with the rear seats down. Access to this extra space has been made easier via the split rear doors and innovative Clubdoor on the right-hand side.
Modern high-performance engines, designed specifically for the 2nd generation MINI, feature new improvements to optimise fuel economy and emission management. Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and a Gearshift Point Indicator are standard on all variants and helps the MINI Cooper D Clubman to achieve a low emissions figure of 109 g/km C02.
The Clubman is the next body style in the MINI range to join the successful Hatch and Convertible models, which have sold over one million models since 2001. All three derivatives will be built at Plant Oxford, where £100 million has been invested in the past two years to increase production up to 240,000 by 2008. This is more than double the planned production capacity prior to the first car coming off the line in spring 2001.
As with the Hatch models, the petrol engines will be assembled at Plant Hams Hall in the Midlands and the body panels and sub-assemblies are from Plant Swindon. This 'MINI production triangle' employs approximately 6,800 production associates in the UK.
MINI Cooper £14,235
MINI Cooper D £15,400
MINI Cooper S £17,210
Many important details have made it into the production version of the 'Shooting Brake' concept first shown at Frankfurt almost two years ago. Historically, 'Shooting Brake' models are so-called due to a combination of premium two-door styling, with added interior flexibility for owners leading active lifestyles. The three versions of the MINI Clubman are identical to the MINI hatch design and body structure up to the B-pillar, retaining the familiar hexagonal radiator grille and large, round headlights.
Some of the design highlights...
• The two piece split-door is a modern interpretation of an authentic detail found on the MINI's classic forerunners. Hinging at the outside, the rear doors open up to the left and right offering convenient access to the rear. To ensure clear visibility at all times the two doors come with separate windscreen wipers.
• Access to the rear is facilitated by an additional door. The Clubdoor is hinged at the back on the right-hand side of the car and opens against the direction of travel. For safety reasons, this door can only be opened when the front door is open. The Clubdoor does not require an outside door handle and therefore blends smoothly into the body of the Clubman.
• The MINI Clubman is the same width as the Hatch model and approximately two centimetres higher.
• The rear light clusters on the MINI Clubman are a new design for this model. Sweeping slightly to the inside at the top, the design replicates the exterior lines of the car as seen from the rear.
• The MINI Clubman's compact proportions and low-slung look creates the same dynamic impression as all other models in the MINI family.
• The individual model variants are designated at the rear by their names Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S, while the name Clubman is highlighted on the right-hand door sill strip.
• There are 12 body colours to choose from, creating 36 combinations of exterior paintwork. Hot Chocolate is new and reserved exclusively for the MINI Clubman.
• The C-pillars and rear bumper of the MINI Clubman are painted either Silver or Black. The roof can be ordered in Silver, Black or Body Colour.
The interior design of the new MINI Clubman replicates the design changes introduced on the 2nd generation MINI hatch model. Therefore, the opportunities to personalise it are just as varied as the Hatch with four interior colours and a wide range of trim options including Brushed Alloy and glistening Piano Black Paint.
The generous luggage compartment is 260 litres, 100 litres more than the Hatch, and offers easy loading options thanks to the split-rear doors. Folding down the rear seats provides 930 litres (250 litres extra compared to the Hatch), and a completely flat luggage compartment floor is available as an option. The benefits are greater practicality and flexibility for a larger variety of transport requirements.
The MINI Clubman is entering the market with five seats as standard. It is also possible to choose two seats at the rear as a no-cost option. The passengers in the rear enjoy 8cm more legroom than the MINI Hatch.
The three modern, high-performance engines were developed specifically for the 2nd generation MINI and guarantee sporting driving pleasure combined with remarkable efficiency:
MINI Cooper S Clubman
Powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger complete with intercooler. Response time when accelerating is virtually instantaneous due to separating the channels of two cylinders each into exhaust manifold and turbocharger. This reduces the exhaust back pressure and plays a major role in ensuring that the charging effect of the turbocharger kicks in at just 1600rpm. Maximum output is 175hp at an engine speed of 5,500 rpm.
Maximum torque: 240Nm at 1600-5000 rpm (260Nm with Overboost)
Top speed mph: 139
Acceleration 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
Fuel consumption combined mpg: 44.8
CO2 emissions EU g/km: 150
MINI Cooper Clubman
The 1.6 litre four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated engine features fully variable valve management based on BMW Group's VALVETRONIC technology. This improves the engine's response and refinement, as well as the all-round efficiency of the power unit. Maximum output is 120hp at 6000 rpm.
Maximum torque: 160Nm at 4250 rpm
Top speed mph: 125
Acceleration 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
Fuel consumption combined mpg: 51.4
CO2 emissions EU g/km: 132
MINI Cooper D Clubman
Four-cylinder turbo diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable turbine geometry ensures optimum smoothness, efficiency and response even at low speeds. A diesel particulate filter almost eliminates diesel exhaust emissions and helps to make the MINI diesel engine one of the most environmentally friendly cars available. It develops maximum output of 110hp at 4000 rpm.
Maximum torque: 240Nm at 1750-2000 rpm (260Nm with Overboost)
Top speed mph: 120
Acceleration 0-62mph: 10.4 seconds
Fuel consumption combined mpg: 68.9
CO2 emissions EU g/km: 109
As with all MINI Hatch models, the MINI Clubman range will benefit from the improvements introduced in production from August 2007 to bring further reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Technologies include Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop function and a Gearshift Point Indicator.
Brake Energy Regeneration
This technology ensures that the output from the engine is converted primarily into drive power, with electricity being generated for the on-board network only when the engine is on overrun or during application of the brakes. To achieve this effect, the alter¬nator is automatically disengaged from the engine while under power. Accordingly, the power the alternator would consume in the conventional mode now remains fully available for even faster and more dynamic acceleration.
An adequate supply of electrical energy to the on-board system is nevertheless ensured at all times, since the alternator is activated again as soon as the MINI returns to overrun or the driver applies the brakes.
The new Auto Start-Stop function on all manual gearbox versions of the MINI Clubman serves to effectively reduce fuel consumption and emissions while the car is standing still. Whenever the car comes to a stop, Auto Start-Stop automatically switches off the engine as soon as the driver shifts to neutral and takes his foot off the clutch pedal. To re-start the engine, the driver presses down on the clutch pedal again, and the engine re-starts automatically and immediately.
Auto Start-Stop serves to optimise fuel efficiency in city traffic. The consumption of energy and the generation of exhaust emissions is reduced to zero in a very simple and straightforward process every time the car comes to a stop.
Gearshift Point Indicator
The driver of a manual gearbox MINI Clubman is able to focus on the most efficient style of motoring because the ideal 'economy' gear is shown by a numeric symbol in the cockpit display beneath the rev counter. The electronic engine 'brain' analyses engine speed, driving conditions and the position of the accelerator pedal to calculate the most efficient style of motoring and suggests the respective gear to the driver.
The MINI Clubman comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. As an option, six-speed automatic transmission is available for all three variants. A feature of the auto' box enables the driver to select gears by means of paddles on the steering wheel.
Despite its longer wheelbase and the body overhang extended to the rear, the Clubman retains the "bulldog" stance so typical of the MINI. The car's agile driving characteristics offer the legendary go-kart feeling inseparably associated with the MINI brand.
In a configuration tailored specifically for the MINI Clubman, the chassis and suspension guarantee superior handling, safety and sporting dynamics. The front axle is based on the MacPherson spring strut principle and features an anti-roll bar to reduce body sway to an absolute minimum. The central-arm rear axle is unique in this segment, sophisticated kinematics ensuring optimum wheel-to-road contact. Aluminium longitudinal arms help to reduce the car's overall weight.
As with the Hatch, the suspension on the MINI Cooper S is set-up to be firmer and more dynamic than the other models. Although, an optional Sports Suspension set-up is available to the other models.
The MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper D Clubman come as standard on 15-inch alloy rims, while the MINI Cooper S Clubman features 16-inch wheels with runflat tyres, allowing the driver to continue driving even after a complete loss of tyre pressure.
Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) gives direct feedback to the driver and contributes to the pin-point accuracy of the MINI Clubman. Speed-related power assistance guarantees low steering forces when parking and precise responses at high speeds on the motorway. A further advantage of EPAS is that it weighs far less than a conventional steering system and is geared towards saving energy: the electric motor is only activated when power assistance is required by the driver.
The MINI Clubman features a wide range of safety features. Six airbags are standard consisting of front, side and curtain head airbags for the driver and front passenger. The extra-large curtain airbags (integrated in the roof lining) offer optimum protection from head injuries for the rear passengers.
Active safety is ensured in critical situations by ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution and CBC Cornering Brake Control as standard on all models. In addition, DSC Dynamic Stability Control is also standard (with on-off control by the driver) together with ASC+T Automatic Stability Control + Traction. Included within DSC is Hill Assist. This feature holds a manual MINI on the brake for a few seconds when setting off on a gradient to prevent it from rolling back.
The new generation of the MINI is the world's only compact premium car to combine fascinating design with incomparably agile driving characteristics, quality and safety of the highest level, a wide range of customisation options, and truly outstanding efficiency. The new MINI Clubman offers further evidence of this leadership.
Andy Hearn, MINI UK General Manager, said: "MINI dealers are very excited and confident about the imminent arrival of the Clubman and the expansion of the MINI range. Dealers have invested close to £40 million in the last two years in expanding or moving premises, enabling them to present the huge choice of models, options and accessories to customers in the showroom. Demand continues to grow year by year with 2007 sales up nearly 14 per cent, including three record months from March. Residual values remain amongst the best in the industry and the arrival of Clubman will further add to MINI's growth over the coming years."